Sunday I met an old friend (from 35 years ago) for breakfast. She was in town to visit colleges with her son. They're were staying in one of the suburbs and she suggested a French bakery as we are both francophiles and she knows I love to eat. This bakery is supposed to be as authentic as they come.
Traditional French bakeries (boulangeries) are not pastry shops. They have bread, numerous kinds, but only bread. One buys pastries in a patisserie. Since it was touted as authentic, I felt safe going there.
We met outside in the little chic shopping area in the town. I could see from outside that the place was popular--it was crowded and bustling. We went on in and there in front of us was a pastry case about the size of Cincinnatti. They looked scrumptious and many of them looked familiar from my years of living in France. I knew right away this was a bad idea. And so I spoke up. I told my friend that the place was too crowded, too noisy, and that with only 6 weeks of abstinence under my belt, I needed a safer place to eat.
We went two doors down to a quieter restaurant and had a lovely conversation. I ordered eggs benedict minus the potatoes. It was a real treat and did not involve sugar.
As we left, I stopped by a table outside the French bakery and bought 3 bunches of tulips from some teenage girls. They were a second treat and much longer lasting than pastries would have been.
In the past, I would probably not have ordered pastries at the bakery if we'd eaten there. I'd have ordered a sensible meal, then waited until my friend left to buy a half-dozen pastries to take home and eat in solitude. I'd have gone so far as to walk her to her car, or walk to mine, wait till she drove away, and then sneak back. It was nice this time to spend the money on flowers and do it all out in the open.